Cody Freitag

An omnibus hearing for Cody James Freitag is set for Jan. 5 in Seventh District Court.

The interactive Zoom hearing will be held before Judge Gary Larson at 1:30 p.m. Otter Tail County Attorney Michelle Eldien will represent the state. Ruth Ann Lee has been appointed the public defender.

The hearing was originally scheduled for Nov. 24 but had to be postponed because one of the attorneys was unavailable.

Freitag is charged with four felonies. Two of the counts involve causing a death while fleeing law enforcement. The other two are criminal vehicular homicide charges. 

During the chase on Oct. 2 in downtown Fergus Falls, Freitag’s eastbound vehicle crashed into one proceeding northbound at the intersection of Cavour and Union Avenues. Killed in the crash were Steve and Diane Christianson of Fergus Falls.

Deputies Mike Wing and Kelly Backman were placed on administrative leave following the crash. The Minnesota State Patrol and the Fergus Falls Police Department both investigated the crash site. The sheriff’s office launched an administrative investigation. Wing has returned to duty according to Otter Tail County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons. Backman remains on leave. 

The chase began when 30-year-old Freitag, wanted on warrants involving felony drug crimes, felony theft, felony fleeing, domestic assault and obstructing the legal process, left Casey’s convenience store on North Union Avenue where Wing and Backman had lured him in an attempt to make an arrest. The undercover operation was hampered when Wing’s squad car was disabled after striking a curb. While attempting to apprehend Freitag emergency lights and sirens were activated by law enforcement. 

Following the collision, Freitag was transported to Lake Region Healthcare where a blood sample was taken, lab results revealed the presence of methamphetamine, opiates and amphetamines. Freitag was later transferred to Sanford Health in Fargo for treatment. 

Otter Tail County Attorney Michelle Eldien said Tuesday she has received no reports to review charges against the two deputies at this time.

According to court records, the two deputies were in pursuit of Freitag when the collision occurred. 

An omnibus hearing is a pretrial hearing. The main purpose of the hearing is to determine the evidence, including testimony and evidence seized at the time of arrest.

The fleeing charges against Freitag each hold a maximum penalty of imprisonment of up to 40 years along with an $80,000 fine. The criminal vehicular charges both carry a 10-year sentence along with a fine not to exceed $20,000.

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